What you will study
This module is structured in four parts. At the core of the module is a handbook that takes you week-by-week through methods, readings and writing exercises. This handbook covers the first three parts of the module. The fourth part is a period of independent study.
Part 1 of the module, Ways of Writing, looks at different approaches to writing. In particular it focuses on the influence of genre, contrast, research, revision and drama on writing style. Work includes readings and writing exercises in fiction, poetry, and life writing.
Part 2, Writing Drama, explores writing techniques for three dramatic media: stage, film and radio. It examines the conventional layouts and illustrates the narrative strengths and constraints of each medium. It will deal with dramatic principles connected to dialogue, subtext, status and exposition, as well as media-specific elements such as sets for the stage, aural contrast in radio and montage in film.
Part 3, Developing Style, looks at how some of the methods used in dramatic writing can improve fiction writing, life writing and poetry. For example, it looks at the connection between dramatic monologues and fictional narrators; it examines the connection between film techniques such as montage and the way fiction might be structured. This section goes on to explore writing approaches in wide-ranging fashion, covering poetic form, rhetoric and the use of analogy. You’ll focus on improving your writing style and voice in all genres.
Part 4, Independent Study, involves working on a larger project, culminating in the presentation of an end-of-module assessment comprising a substantial piece of creative writing in one of the forms taught in the module – fiction, poetry, life writing or drama.
As in Creative writing (A215), the emphasis is very much on practice through guided activities, although as the module progresses you will increasingly be expected to generate and develop your own ideas without reliance on the study materials. In comparison to the OU level 2 module the emphasis will be on working independently to enhance and improve your writing style and voice. You will generate slightly fewer projects but these will be of more substantial length and you will spend longer developing, editing and redrafting your work. You will write a dramatic adaptation and explore the influence of drama on your work.
A DVD and audio CDs will provide you with excerpts from films, stage and radio plays as well as interviews with novelists, poets and scriptwriters.
Online tutor-group forums will enable peer-group discussion of some of your work. You will be expected to engage in these activities, giving impersonal and informed evaluations of your own and others’ work through constructive criticism. One of the TMAs involves writing a critique of the work of your peers, as posted on the online forum.